Transplantation of donor pancreatic islet cells (allogeneic islet cell transplantation) into patients with type I diabetes may reverse the disease without need for major surgery. In this procedure, islet cells extracted from the pancreas of one or two diseased donors are infused via a catheter into the recipient's liver, where they eventually produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar.
In a similar procedure, the patient's own pancreas is processed to extract the islet cells (autologous islet cell transplantation) and prevent type I diabetes when the pancreas is removed for other reasons, generally chronic pancreatitis.
The primary goal of this operation is pain relief, where removing the pancreas relieves the patient of the pain of chronic pancreatitis. The obvious concern is that without a pancreas the patient is guaranteed to develop type I diabetes. If the pancreas is in an acceptable condition, however, transplantation of the patient's own islet cells may prevent the development of diabetes.
NewYork-Presbyterian is a center of research and expertise in islet cell transplantation to treat type I diabetes. The first successful allogeneic islet cell transplant in the New York Tri-State area was performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, and subsequent transplants have been performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Allogeneic islet cell transplantation is still in the research phase, however, and more work is needed before it can be utilized on a wider scale.
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is the first center in the greater New York metropolitan area to offer autologous islet cell transplantation. The endeavor is a joint effort between NYP/Columbia's Pancreas Center and the Stem Cell Laboratory of the Department of Pathology. Patients who need a total pancreatectomy for benign diseases (such as chronic pancreatitis) may be eligible for this procedure to avoid type I diabetes.
Renal and Pancreatic Transplant Program
Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs